Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Gene Vincent: Capitol Collectors' Series [Capitol, 1990]
He lived in England after almost dying young there, which was all this greasy-looking, airy-sounding ex-sailor needed to become a rockabilly legend. But Stateside he's remembered, when you get down to it, for precisely one record: his first and biggest, "Be-Bop-a-Lula." I bought it in 1956 and instantly adjudged its Elvisoid B side, "Woman Love," a perfect cartoon of slavering lust, an opinion I hold to this day. Although he's a better legend than artist, Vincent and his Blue Caps also deserve credit for the chart-certified "Bluejean Bop" and "Lotta Lovin'" as well as a string of lesser rockers. Topped by "B-I Bickey-Bi, Bo-Bo-Go" and the barely chart-certified "Race With the Devil," these include "Git It" and "Baby Blue," neither of which I'd heard before his company put Vincent back in catalogue with this overenthusiastic CD-market compilation. But there's also the inexplicably omitted "Who Slapped John?" and "Five Feet of Lovin'," and "She She Little Sheila," supposedly slated for a followup devoted to his Later Work. I await the second Fats Domino. And swear you should hear "Woman Love" once before you die. B+